Tuesday, 19 October 2021


Coronavirus report:  The numbers of people having coronavirus continues to be 'high' and has plateaued (44,000 cases in the UK today).

Iain got his booster this week having had a letter from the GP to make an appointment.  They have been calling the over 80s and then will start calling in the over 75s in somewhat the same fashion as they original vaccination roll-out.

He's actually been down to the Town Hall to turn up on a walk-in basis (if not busy, they take you), only to find it shut.  I guess they are starting to limit the days now.

I got notification to attend an appointment for my booster (which I got 2 weeks ago).  I find I cannot cancel it (though can change it) using the website.  Therefore I will probably be counted as a No Show. Hey ho.....

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Milngavie Music Club's first concert of the season was a great success with about 175 people turning up in Cairns Church.  

Such a joy to meet and greet again after 19 months of lockdown.

Consone Quartet played for a very appreciative audience.  Yes, we remained socially distanced, everyone had to wear a mask, no mingling at the interval and egress at the end was like when we were at school doing the Fire Drill.  Everything was all very well organised and orderly so we seem to be off with a good start to the season. (And the weather was kind; I forgot how it gets dark now about 7:15 pm!)

Autumn flowers from the garden for the hall desk.

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[1]   I was attending a concert in the local secondary school and was struck by this photo on the bulletin board near the entrance.

Douglas Academy girls' school uniform

[2] The V&A 2022 calendars are now out.  They are quite beautiful.  I bought this one at Waterstone's bookshop.  (Later, I noticed that it wasn't for sale in the V&A online shop....)  When in Waterstones I offered to buy Ishbel a calendar. Her reply was "I don't use a calendar."   Fair enough; I suppose this is another example of our paperless society!

Art Deco Calendar for 2022

Tuesday, 12 October 2021


Coronavirus report: Had my booster shot today and also my flu jab.  It has been exactly 6 months since my second Covid shot.  They seem to keep good records; I confess that I don't (and should!).

Alastair has now received his too. Like, Ishbel, he says most students appear to have taken up the offer.

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Here is a young friend, Ryan Corbett, who is a final year music student at the Conservatoire in Glasgow. He won a competition recently and a prize of £5000!  It's been a long haul for him; we are all so pleased for him!

LINK:  Accordionist Ryan Corbett wins ROSL keyboard final | Classical Music

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Louise was here en route to Canada.  We had a great visit and also paid a visit to CVD as she wanted to see the family and changes to the house.

While there I took this photo of 3 of them on the deck.  Ishbel is behind the curtain.

Harriet (8), Alastair (13) and Ellie (6)



Corona As At Position:  Ishbel (14 yrs) has now received her vaccination.  Done at school. Most people, she reckons, have taken up the option to be vaccinated.

Booster shots are now available. I received a text saying that the doctor's surgery was not offering this but it was the Health Board doing it.  I still have to go on to the website to book an appointment which is being done locally in Milngavie Town Hall.  Apparently they do the annual flu jab at the same time.

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I have been clearing out old photos and came across some which relate to my brother.  As it was his birthday recently I offer this selection:

This is the house on Broadview Road, Billie Kalke left, my mother and Don on the right.  '57 Chev in which I sat my driving test aged 16 (1960).

Don responded to this photograph with a huge amount of detailed family history:

Wow, my youth. Allen and Margaret Booth house on Trans Canada Highway, east of Salmon Arm, next to Broadview Road. Harry Kalke on L, died 1988; Margaret Booth, 2003; Don Booth on R, now 76. 
Car is 1957 Chevrolet 4 door 210 sedan. Could not buy 2 tone so mom had roof and triangle trim on rear sides painted black. Red and black, sharp car. Not another one like it. 
House in the background [very hard to see in far distance]  was Marsack, later was Bleumenaur. 
House [Booth family home behind the Chev] built by Roberts Bros. in 20’s. Purchased by Allen’s mom Gladys Bessie after their Craig Ewan house burned Boxing Day, 1938. Allen purchased from his mother near the time he married Margaret, Aug 1, 1943.
GB Booth purchased Rattrey place on other side of Broadview, [later owned by Jesperson's]  then moved to [Golf Road] Victoria in 1952.

 Don about 12 years old. Truck was a Chev (They were either Chevs or GMC as I recall).

Saturday, 2 October 2021



If the iPhone telephone numbers are correct but the spacing is wrong i.e. European spacing, the number will not work. [0123 456 7890 or 01234 567890 to 01 234 56 78 90] . Very tiresome.... but here is the workaround.  The problem is FORMATTING.    

[1] Get into the region as this is where the workaround all takes place:


[2] The REGION NEEDS TO BE 'RE-SET'.  Done by (1) 'unsetting' it.  Tap on 'United States ' bar and a menu appears 'Change to ENGLISH (US) (2) Tap on that  (3) wait until it has done that, then (4) go back and do the same thing again the other way around, i.e. Scroll up one bar to 'United Kingdom and tap on it. Tap on 'Change to ENGLISH (UK) and wait for it to change.  Now back where you started. A long way for a short-cut?!   But this works.  And it may need to be done again as another device (or iCloud/) seems to cause it to go into European format again.

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We had an occasion to use the  NHS Test and Trace kit which was given to us some months back when we were at our local vaccination centre.

Iain has a cold, and, as it turns out, does not have covid.  He tested himself; it was all quite impressive. 

It is a half hour DIY test kit where you take 2 samples and place them in a small test tube then place a drop on a measuring stick (left in photo).  After 30  minutes you read the calibrator: C for negative and T for positive. Easily done and came with a well laid out, clearly written instruction booklet.  And it also required that one report to the central government statistical data collection point, again well laid out and done without difficulty!

Tuesday, 28 September 2021


Another week of pandemic statistics remaining much the same, i.e. infection rate continues to be moderate.... not high but not low either.   

While the news this past week has mainly been about petrol shortage, not due to lack of fuel but because of lack of hauliers.  Yes, supermarkets and shops have been empty in patches but the fuel delivery problem has been driven by the Brexit consequence of European drives heading back to their own country.

Or at least that is what the media are saying.  (I wrote about this a few months ago when I chatted to a haulier who said that drivers were simply skiving off.)  Like so much of what I notice these days, things are not what they seem, i.e. the reasons are to do with pandemic and/or Brexit or none of these. 

That being said, I attended a concert at Douglas Academy last Friday night. Youngsters were playing in their orchestra... a real tonic as we head out of lockdown and into winter!

On Saturday I headed into the city centre to attend to something I had planned to do just before lockdown in 2019. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (of which I am a member) has now opened a club room in Glasgow.  I made a noble effort to find it.

It has to be one of the best kept secrets in Glasgow.  Why?

It is exactly one and one quarter blocks due west of Donald Dewar's statue which stands at the top of Buchanan Street.  It couldn't be more central! 

I had a great visit, ate  lunch of a venison burger and bought Pips Hills' book about the setting up of the SMWS some 40 years ago.  Iain and I know about this as we were friends with one of the founders... more on that anon.

Their selection of whiskies is absolutely huge!  I came away with one bottle picked more or less at random.

However... a funny thing happened on my way to the SMWS....

While walking along the street looking for the SMWS (I was walking from West to East) I was peering at the numbers on the doorways looking for No. 38.  In the block before No 38 I came upon this doorway: No 106.  It wasn't the number that took my notice so much as the chap standing on the doorstep in his white hairdresser's at-work coat wearing his pandemic mask.  He was obviously having a break enjoying the sunlight at mid-day. 

I thought to myself  "I recognise that handsome head of blond (going white) hair!" and double-checked by looking up at the sign above his head. I pointed to the sign and then to him; he laughed!  Never being one to be backward about coming forward I spoke up, "You cut my hair some 40 years ago!"  He's still going strong - a legend in his own lunchtime!  And like my current hairdresser at Bearsden Cross, he just loves his job!  "It's all about the people."  


Saturday, 18 September 2021


I have been involved with 2 different printers to try and get some brochures, posters, tickets, cards printed for the end of August.  The music organisation is    going to start up again in October with one concert every month (except January) 2022) until the spring.

[Photo: Chodowiecki]

Things have not been straightforward... so what is going on??  Having dealt with various printers for 4 decades (egad!) I have certainly seen some changes.  Time-served people saw their businesses merge, and/or close; equipment sold off as computer generated desk top publishing (like the stuff I do) replaced it.  Not all printers disappeared but methinks I am now seeing a similar decline right now.

Due to the pandemic, as we know, many businesses were forced to close and lay off staff.  Times have been very uncertain over these past 18 months.  Businesses, services etc that have remained open were either forced to reduce staff, days e.g. dentists, and others closed everything and operated from home;  some are still operating but it seems only part-time. 

The concept of 'service' in the UK is, and never has been, the same as US or Canada; you get used to limited, surly or none. That being the case as things are now opening up slowly and getting back to 'normal' it is still a case of: sitting on the phone waiting for a human being to attend your call; goods not delivered when arranged, websites with out-of-date phone numbers, increasing difficulty processing things because of 'security protection', people not at the office so "I'll get so and so to deal with it." (not). 

The TSB bank in Milngavie - pretty well says it all!

The 2 printing jobs finally were completed. However what I began to suspect is, indeed, the case: businesses have closed and relocated or are working with skeleton staff. I appreciate that they must be having problems with their supply chain.  I hope there is not a paper shortage at the moment! 

A post-script to this:  on the other side of this problem I am finding some shops that are not only open but have queues outside e.g.new ice-cream shop locally. And plumbers, plasterers, driving instructors for Learner Drivers, have big waiting lists.

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A short drive from our house is Dobbie's Garden Centre located on the edge of our Bearsden/Milngavie suburb of Glasgow.  The business appears to be re-styling itself.  They have got rid of their Edinburgh Wooden Mill section and have now a big 'grocery hall' with lots of Sainsbury brand on the shelves.

They still have tacky stuff that comes in containers from China e.g. home decor stuff;  they even sell plants and garden equipment but not very exciting stuff (and certainly no staff who know anything about plants!)  For the record the day I visited was September 13th (Monday) and there were piles of Christmas stock starting to fill the emptied corners.

However outside in the car park these photos show the superb location: the cows are grazing on the line of the Roman Antonine Wall.

And it is that time of year.... jelly making time:

Back in Bearsden - a trip down memory lane when I parked my car alongside this fence on Russel Drive

Clearing and contrucstin preparation on corner of Gartconnel Road and Ralston Road in Bearsden

Saturday, 11 September 2021


It is 20 years since the terrible event of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York. We all have our stories of where we were on that day when we heard the news.

Tribute in Light in Manhattan on 11 September 2013, marking the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.Photograph: Gary Hershorn/Reuters

I certainly remember where I was on Sept 11, 2001 and what I was doing: I had just come from a large 11 am funeral at Glasgow Cathedral. It was of a young man who froze to death on the Matterhorn. (His father had been one of Iain’s students and as well as a fellow mountaineer.)   

On the way home I needed to do some photocopying of music required for our fiddle orchestra rehearsal that same evening.  I was standing in the Copy Agency Byres Road  putting sheets into the photocopier when the lad in charge of the place referred me to the news coverage coming out of his radio up on a shelf above my head. "Have you not heard?"     What a shock!  

And further to this… at the end of the day I went to collect a Canadian friend, Glenna Urbshadt, who had been staying with us, from a local golf club (Clober Golf Club) after she had finished her game, about 5 pm.  We met in the clubhouse foyer.  Off to one side of the wide foyer was a fairly large room with a TV in the corner.  A scattering of people were gathered in front of the TV watching the news coverage.  We stood at the opening (which was made by the big sliding doors being pushed to each side) and asked if we could come in to watch the TV.  “No madame …it's men only!”